Get clear skin without causing irritation by improving how you wash your face.


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Wash smart to keep your skin acne-free

Bad washing habits will only make your acne problem worse


Washing your face is common sense, or is it? There are right and wrong ways to wash, and some acne regimens actually encourage washing practices that can end up damaging your skin. Follow these guidelines to make sure you're fighting acne and not encouraging it when you wash.


Wash your face only twice per day


One of the most frequent mistakes that acne sufferers make is over-washing. Proper hygiene does not mean slathering your face with harsh chemicals a hundred times per day.


Remember, most acne is not caused by surface dirt or bacteria. Simply keeping your skin clean isn't going to stop the biological processes behind acne. Over-washing can actually have the opposite effect. By constantly sapping your skin of its protective layer of oil, you can leave your cells dry and cracked, more easily irritated and more vulnerable to damage, including sun damage that can lead to fine lines and wrinkles.


But isn't excess skin oil the problem? Why not eliminate it by washing frequently? 


Yes, excess skin oil is the culprit behind most acne, but the key word here is "excess". Constantly washing your face is very different from using a supplement like vitamin B5 to reduce oily skin. When you use a treatment like Clear5, you provide your body with the metabolic fuel needed to eliminate excess skin oil, but your body is smart - it regulates itself - meaning that when it has eliminated the excess and reached an optimal level of skin oil, it stops, leaving a natural level of oil to serve as a protective layer for your skin. In other words: B5 allows your body to function how it was meant to function.


In contrast, when you wash with a strong cleanser, you are penetrating deep into your pores and stripping your skin of *all* oil, leaving you more susceptible to damage and irritation. This is why most regimens force you to follow with a moisturizer, but then you're just adding on more chemicals that can have their own negative effects. Why not let your body protect itself the natural way?


The exception to the twice-a-day rule is if you did something to get yourself dirty. If, during the day, you managed to get yourself covered in mud or sweat or corrosive acid, then by all means wash that stuff off. Just don't go washing your face for no good reason.


Simple and gentle is the best way to wash


To wash, you're going to need water, but what temperature should it be? Keep in mind: warm water causes your pores to dilate, and cold water causes your pores to contract. When washing, you should start with warm water to open your pores and allow your cleanser to penetrate, but it's often a good idea to end with cool water so that your pores tighten and are better protected from damage, including particles from your towel.

Note that I said warm, not hot. You generally want to avoid hot water, as it can dry out your skin and potentially cause more harm than good.


When it comes to your cleanser, use a gentle, good-quality face wash. It doesn't have to be an "acne" cleanser, and often you're better off if it's not. That said, don't just use any cheap bar of soap. Many soaps can leave a filmy residue on your skin, and you don't want that. Spend a little more and get a decent cleanser, or better yet, consider an organic cleansing milk.


Lather well and massage the cleanser gently into your skin (you don't need to scrub hard). Allow the lather to stay on for at least 30 seconds. Many cleansers use chemical agents that work almost like magnets to pull the gunk out of your pores, but this seldom happens immediately - you have to give it a little time. Afterwards, rinse with cool water, then gently pat your skin dry.


And that's it. I do not recommend following with a moisturizer, toner or SPF 15 unless you're planning on spending considerable time out in the sun. Many of these products can end up clogging your pores and contributing to acne, and if you're drinking enough water, the simple fact is you shouldn't need them.


Smart washing isn't just about your face. Read about how to wash properly in the shower.


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